Project Worker's Story - Niamh

“Aoife never learned to play with other children,” says Niamh, her Barnardos project worker. “She lived ninety percent of her life in darkness, was malnourished, often dirty, and generally uncared for. It wasn’t that her mother didn’t care, she was unwell herself, and just didn’t have the skills to cope. We could see, even at the age of three, that Aoife was becoming antisocial and hardened to life as a way of getting by. But we also saw that Aoife had the potential to be a happy and fulfilled child.

We started by enrolling her in a Barnardos Early Year’s Service and made sure she attended regularly. Here she learned to play with the other children and take on responsibility. We made sure she understood the importance of being clean and to eat at least one nutritious meal a day. Aoife’s Mum went on a Barnardos parenting course helping her to take care of both Aoife and herself.”

Now five, Aoife has just started school. 

“The turning point was when Aoife started to fit into the routines of the day and learnt to play with the other children. By helping Aoife be able to play in a group, we not only gave her her childhood back, but also gave her the skills to deal with other people, and find her place in the world. Now, Aoife is a happy playful child, curious, intelligent and full of energy,” says Niamh. “Her Mum goes out more, and she and Aoife have become a secure and strong little family."

“Aoife and her Mum have come a long way and it has been an intensive process. We still have a lot more to do, but we know that Aoife’s life has already changed so much, and for the better. We will continue to work with them to make sure it stays that way.”

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